Serving in the military could be accurately described as – being a part of the largest organized team in the world. With that being said, it’s also safe to say that military life is a unique world in and of itself and can be vastly different from what most of us would view as ordinary civilian life. For service members nearing the end of their military careers, it can be a daunting prospect to be thrust out of your boots and into the de-militarized zone of civilian life. What will you do? What are you trained to do? How will you earn a living? It’s still not too late to register for fall start this year!

It’s likely you’ve given those questions some thought and maybe you’re considering making the most of military service benefits like the G.I. Bill or other military education benefit you may be eligible for as a result of your service. There are plenty of great reasons to continue your education after your military service but It’s definitely hard to argue with a free education!

Still, going from marching in step with your military team, to – marching to the beat of your own drum, as a civilian and a student – can be challenging and have you feeling like a fish out of water! Fortunately, we’ve got 5 tips to keep you afloat and help you make the transition from military life to student life, a smooth one.

Prepare before you’re there – Just like the military runs on planning and preparation, you can get ahead of your own curve by educating yourself in advance about the benefits you may qualify for. Forewarned is fore-armed. So, arm yourself with information well before your service is up.

Find yourself – Or at least start the process of exploring what your interests are and how they could translate into a career. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Just because you were a military police officer during your service, doesn’t mean you can’t pursue a degree in nursing. The military helped you hone your self-discipline and team work skills – you can take those into any career!

The what, then the where – Maybe you already know what you’re interested in studying or maybe you’re still figuring that out. But when you figure out the what, start checking out where it is you can pursue your goals. Contact your local VA for a list of schools in the area you want to be in and reach out to their admissions departments to learn more and to ultimately find the school and location that is right for you.

Get by with a little help – From your friends or from VA programs and support groups who’ve been in your shoes and can help guide you in the right direction. Sometimes being able to share your experiences and get support from fellow veterans can make all the difference in how you adjust to your new civilian/student status.

Sometimes less is more – Avoid the temptation to overload yourself right away after your service ends. Depending on your situation, you may be working and continuing your education, so starting out slow is not a bad thing when it comes to choosing how many classes to take on right away. Give yourself time to adjust and you’ll be moving on the next step before you know it!

The transition from military life can be an exciting and terrifying chapter but as a veteran, you’ve got what it takes to make this chapter of your life even better than the last! If you’re military service is coming to an end, and you’d like to explore the options for your future, check out the programs at City College! With 5 Florida campus locations and a wide variety of programs to choose from, City College is proud to serve the veterans who’ve served our country. If you’re a veteran, we’ll waive your application fee to thank you for your service! Just bring a copy of your DD214 when you come to enroll and you can submit your application for free!  Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a tour of a campus near you.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at